How I lost my pregnancy weight with intermittent fasting - no dieting!

Ever since I posted on Instagram about getting back to pre-pregnancy weight with intermittent fasting, I’ve had SO many people wanting to know more about it that I thought I should write a post to briefly explain how it works. I put on 33lbs during my third pregnancy but lost it all by the time my baby was six months old and it was pretty easy to do so. Since then so many of my friends have started fasting and are seeing results too!


By no means am I an expert on diet or nutrition, I’m just breaking it down in a way I think you’ll understand because so many people are contacting me about this! I’ll link you to where you can read more in depth if you want to give it a go. In the simplest terms, by changing when you eat rather than what you eat you really can see results!

I’ve never been any good at following diets. I love food, eating brings me joy! Traditional diets where food groups are banned or calories are restricted are boring and make me miserable, and  result in me having a massive naughty binge! What if I told you that it is possible to lose weight and burn fat without restricting yourself, by just following one simple thing: intermittent fasting.

Now before you go, “oh my god FASTING?! I’ll starve!” I promise you, you won’t, and actually you already fast every single day... Breakfast being the most important meal of the day came about centuries ago as a way to push cereal sales. But breakfast - or “break fast” - literally means to break the fasting period of the prior night. That's it!


WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING?


Intermittent fasting isn’t a diet, just a pattern of eating. You’re changing when you eat, rather than what you eat. I follow the 16:8 method so every day I fast for 16 hours. I don’t follow any strict diets or limit my calories, I just make sure that I only eat during my 8 hour “feeding” window.

I’m sure your eyes widened at the thought of fasting for 16 hours, but you most likely are already fasting a good 10 hours every day anyway! Most of this fasting happens you’re asleep, so all you need to do is push your breakfast back a few hours and you’ll have fasted for 16 hours.

I fast from around 9pm each evening until around 1pm the following day. I either have “breakfast” (I love branflakes!) followed by lunch around 3pm and dinner around 8pm. Or I’ll just have two bigger meals if I don’t fancy cereal. I still have snacks in between, in fact I eat pretty much the same as I did before I started doing intermittent fasting!


HOW DOES INTERMITTENT FASTING WORK?


So now you’re probably thinking, how do you lose weight if you’re eating the same as before? When you’re eating and digesting food your body is in the fed state. Your insulin levels will be high so your body will find it hard to burn fat in this state.

8-12 hours after eating your body is in the post-absorptive state and THEN your body enters the fasted state. Your body finds it much easier to burn fat in this state because your insulin levels are low. Instead of using food for fuel, your body switches to using fat.

So by staying in the fasted state for a few hours your body can burn the fat that it isn’t able to access during the fed state, and that’s why you’ll see changes begin to happen to your weight and shape even though you’re not really changing what you eat. Yassss!

The thing is, most of us are rarely ever get to this magic fat burning fasted state because it’s so ingrained in us that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, “three square meals a day” or “eat every 3 hours” blah blah blah, so we rarely go 12 hours without eating something.


WHAT CAN I HAVE DURING THE FASTING WINDOW?


You can have water, black tea or black coffee. Milk would trigger an insulin spike and take you out of the fasted state but I’ve read that up to a total of 20ml of milk should be fine. I’m not a big fan of black coffee so I split my “milk allowance” across two coffees!

If you don’t like tea or coffee then it’s just water for you. Anything else will break your fast.


CAN I EAT WHAT I WANT & LOSE WEIGHT IF I FAST INTERMITTENTLY?


Umm, sorry but the short answer is no! While I don’t have to restrict what I’m eating with intermittent fasting, it doesn’t mean that you can just eat whatever you want. My main meals are wholesome and healthy, I have a treat if I want it, we have the odd takeaway, but if you think you’ll be able to eat McDonalds and cake three times a day and lose weight then you’ll probably be disappointed! You still need to be burning more calories than you consume overall.

The thing with intermittent fasting is that it has changed my relationship with food as it’s gone on. I want to really nourish my body when I break my fast each day so I choose really nutritious (and delicious!) meals. I used to be terrible for craving crisps every night but I find I don’t want them as often. I often reach for a banana instead of a biscuit which used to be unheard of!


DIETS VS INTERMITTENT FASTING 


I put on 33lbs during pregnancy. The day after Essie was born I weighed 132lb 8oz so about a stone was baby and waters.

By (badly) following low-calorie diets and exercising several times a week I got down to 121lbs by the time I got married three months later. Then I put on 3lbs!

I stopped restricting myself and switched to intermittent fasting. Without a wedding to lose weight for I stopped exercising, other than walking, but still got down to my target weight of 114lbs by the time Essie was six months old.

So with a boring restrictive diet and exercise, I lose 11lbs. With intermittent fasting alone I lost 10lbs. When you compare them like that, fasting is the obvious choice! I've actually continued doing it, as it's now become part of my normal routine, and I've started doing yoga shred to tone up.


TL;DR


Fast for 16 hours, eat for 8 hours. You don’t have to do 1pm-9pm like me, you could do 9am-5pm or 11am-7pm, or whatever works for your schedule. Your body will switch to burning fat for energy, meaning you’ll target those hard-to-shift areas. Yay!


If you fancy trying intermittent fasting and want to learn more, then I recommend following Matt from Macro Lean on Facebook. His videos are really good, they’re informative without making things over-complicated and he often does live Q&A sessions. Also check out James Clear's website which has a really good, in-depth explanation of intermittent fasting and all the other health benefits associated with it.

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them!

2 comments

  1. So glad I've seen this. I've heard the term before but just thought it meant the same as the 5:2 diet which I've never braved. I eat breakfast because I feel I have to but if left I don't really get hungry until lunch time or later so this could really work for me! Excited to try it and well done lovely xx

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  2. I absolutely loved this post. I’ve been unconsciously intermittently fasting I think! I have been accidentally skipping breakfast for around two weeks and while I haven’t weighed, I feel so much slimmer already.

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